My name is Ginny Leiz. I’m running for re-election to the Westfield Board of Education because of my passion for excellence in public education and to continue to work for the children of Westfield. It has been an honor and a privilege to have served you on the board for the past 15 years.
My husband and I have been residents of Westfield for 30 years. We have two children, both graduates of the Westfield Public Schools, and both launched into successful careers. My own academic and professional careers have been focused on the STEM disciplines and in secondary and higher education - first in the IT departments of a New York City money center bank, and then at the university level as a business department adjunct and STEM department administrator.
As a community, Westfield expects an enduring high quality standard of excellence in our schools. We should all be proud of that tradition of excellence. Our students come to school ready to learn. Our teachers are prepared to instruct them, using best practices to transfer knowledge, encourage eager participation and create self-sufficiency. Our parents are interested in their children’s education and committed to supporting their achievement. And finally, our community values our schools.
This is how you get a school district where nearly 100 percent graduate from high school; where more than 97 percent of graduates attend college; where state and national publications give recognition to your high school; and where you consistently have athletic teams that win state championships. High-achieving schools always come at a cost, but in Westfield we can also be proud that our per-pupil costs continue to be lower than state average while our standard achievement test scores are consistently higher than state average. We should all be proud of the tradition of excellence that is the Westfield Public Schools.
I am especially proud of my role as a member of the Westfield Board of Education for the past 15 years. During my tenure I have chaired each oard committee and served as both vice president and president for three years each. My goal as a board member has always been to develop appropriate policies and provide proper oversight for the management and operation of our continually high-performing school district. I have been dedicated to ensuring that all the children in our community become resilient members of society with the tools and resources they need to reach their greatest potential; with the ability and desire to be lifelong learners; and with the understanding of what it means to be healthy and contributing global citizens in the 21st Century.
My leadership, communication skills, and strong institutional knowledge of the school district gained through my extensive board experience, uniquely qualify me as a valuable candidate for re-election. My interest in serving on the Board is as strong today as it was in 2001, my first year as a board member.
My 15 years on the board have supported me with a wide variety of experiences. I have listened very carefully and learned from our administrators, teachers, staff and community. I have asked many questions and gained much knowledge and insight into understanding our school district and how it is run. I have grown to appreciate the vital connection between our schools, parents and the community.
As a seasoned board member, I understand school funding, operating budgets and education cost drivers. I know school operations, education policy, curriculum standards, and program mandates. As the board’s institutional historian, my understanding of the board’s policies and procedures, school programs, services, and budgeting is critical to helping the district find the right balance between preserving the essential elements of a Westfield education while managing its cost. Retaining this perspective on the Board of Education will continue to serve Westfield well in the future.
I am clearly focused on the cost of education and its impact on local property taxes. We face many challenges, particularly financial, but we must maintain a diversity of programs and continue to set high standards of excellence. It is inevitable that difficult decisions will need to be made. I will continue to view decisions from all angles and weigh the options and impact of competing priorities.
While addressing these challenges, I am committed to seeking new and creative approaches. I will make decisions using my historic knowledge of the school district, and my understanding of school funding, budgeting and operations. I will encourage creative thinking and fresh ideas while being mindful of making prudent fiscal choices, including pursuing new sources of funding.
I, too, chose Westfield for my hometown because of its excellent schools. I will continue to draw on my skills and my desire to sustain that excellence while serving you and Westfield’s children as a member of the Westfield Board of Education.
On Nov. 8, I hope you will support me as your candidate for the board of education, and I thank you for your past support.
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